Wiki Does Technical Writing Too?
Many people turn to Wikipedia for answers to their pending and pressing questions. While this is not always a bad thing, this tool is reader compiled and thus possibly not the best resource for solid facts.
However, Wikis as a tool for technical writing do seem to have some promise. Whether one is looking to learn how to become a technical writer, or a human resources department is looking for ways to define those writers they hire, wikis can work well.
For example, the information on the Wikiversity page on technical writing, works to help those who want to find out more about:
- Technical writing skills
- How to get a technical writing job
- Using technical writing in business
There are two levels of instruction available on this Wiki site, allowing students to progress through the course at their own pace and on their own time line. At the end, students who follow the lessons will have a solid understanding in the basic systems development lifecycle – or will be inspired to find out even more.
The main concern with this site and coursework is that the page is completely editable, so anyone can change the content whenever they like. While this is helpful when the editors find mistakes, this may not be as helpful for assuring those who are using it of reliable information.
The current instructor for the Technical Writing course is TWFred, whose qualifications include (according to his page at http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/User:TWFred):
- IT Technical Writing start, 1997.
- IT Analyst start, 1999.
- Telco/IT in Stockholm, SE “projektsledere”, 2000-2002.
- Telco/IT in Laos, 2003.
- IT/Telco, music, acting in Prague, 2005 to 2007.
- Political campaigning in San Diego, all of 2008.
- IT/Telco work in Prague, 2009 to present.
A beginner to the world of technical writing will find that Wikiversity may not provide all of the answers, but it does provide plenty of links at the bottom of the main page to discover even more about this field.
How have you used Wikis recently? For instructional purposes? For collaborating on documentation projects? Please leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you.